‘I shagged the holes I should have made and only made one mistake’: Rory McIlroy enjoyed a strong start at the 150th Open as the Northern Irishman nailed a superb six-under in the opening round at St Andrews 66 scored
- Rory McIlroy got off to a perfect start by missing a monster putt on the opening hole
- The Northern Irishman finished with a birdie for a six-under 66 in the opening round
- American Cameron Young set an impressive clubhouse goal of eight under par
Rory McIlroy enjoyed his strong start at the 150th Open after carding a six-under 66 at St Andrews.
The Northern Irishman missed a 55-foot birdie on the opening hole in the first round on Thursday.
The parched conditions meant McIlroy was able to hit a long iron down the left side of the 18th green to set up a final birdie.
“I played well, very solidly,” McIlroy said. “Everyone knows you have to make sure your score comes out and I did that.
‘Started off great with a bonus on the first, birded the par 5 (fifth), a few of the short par 4s and then onto the back nine, picked up a few on the 14th and 18th.
‘I birded the holes I should have made and only made one mistake and the way this course plays is all about limiting your mistakes.’
American Cameron Young set an impressive clubhouse goal on day one of the 150th Open Championship when McIlroy’s late return to St Andrews proved the wait was worth it.
In his tournament debut and only in the sixth major of his career, Young carded eight birdies with a clean-shooting 64, a score beaten only by McIlroy in the opening round of an Open at the Old Course.
McIlroy’s 63 came back in 2010, followed by an 80 in foul weather, while an ankle injury playing football prevented him from defending his 2015 Open title at the same venue.
The four-time major winner, admitted this week, therefore felt like the title defense he never had, and he got off to a brilliant start, holed from 55 feet for birdie on the first and made seven overall in his 66.